Correction appended: January 23, 2014
I hate ads. Hold up, stop, don’t bother telling me I hate America, because I don’t — I just hate ads. I can maybe count on one hand (and off the top of my head, one finger) the number of ads over the decades that have colonized my brain with relevant, purchase-worthy info. I want to learn about stuff I might want to try (or buy) on my own time, autonomously researching a product, not while doing something else. I’m a purist. I want as uncorrupted an experience as possible all the time – surfing, gaming, watching TV, etc. – whether I have to pay for the privilege or no.
So I’m happy to pass along news that Adblock Plus — one of two preeminent, must-have, totally free ad-blocking browser plugins — is finally available for Safari users as a “stable beta.” I’m a Safari user most days, though like most people in my profession, I cycle between browsers to perform various duties. I’ve been running Adblock Plus’s competitor, AdBlock (note the capital ‘B’), as well as ClickToFlash for years, and to be fair to AdBlock, it almost always gets the job done. It’s a little shocking, in fact, to see what some websites look like with AdBlock turned off.
What’s the difference between AdBlock and Adblock Plus? AdBlock offers a helpful guide here. It seems they use the same filter syntax, and AdBlock includes native support for Adblock Plus filter subscriptions. According to Adblock Plus’s press release, its product “lets users choose whether to block all ads or allow certain Acceptable Ads to be whitelisted in order to support free content” and “blocks annoying banner ads and pop-ups on web pages, video ads on YouTube, and intrusive ads on Facebook.”
In short, it sounds like both versions are more alike than not. Also, in my experience, ClickToFlash eliminates Flash-based YouTube ads (the HTML5 versions currently run ad-free), and I only log into Facebook a few times a year nowadays, so I can’t speak to the plugin’s efficacy there. The inclusion of Safari means that Adblock Plus is now available for every major browser, and the developer notes it’s backwards-compatible through Safari version 6.0.
For the developer’s part, it sounds like it’s not out (like me) to eliminate advertisements, writing that it merely hopes to “[empower] people to block obnoxious ads while simultaneously encouraging websites to run user-friendly, responsible advertisements instead of intrusive banners, overlays, and pop-ups.” So if you want to see “good” ads, the idea’s basically that you can let those through, while punishing sites that throw the kitchen sink at you.
Correction: The original version of this story misstated the relationship between AdBlock and Adblock Plus. They are related in history, but are presently managed by separate and competing companies.